Operation Safe Station provides a designated safe environment for individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse disorders. Any time – day or night – when an individual decides or gathers the courage to seek help for substance abuse, they can report to the Office of the Magistrate and start their path to recovery.
Operation Safe Station is a multidisciplinary effort designed to reduce the dangerous impacts of opioids and other drugs in our community and to promote treatment options. The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Police Department, the Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Human Services have collaborated to develop a process by which individuals who seek help with their drug use can self-report and receive services, without fear of prosecution and incarceration.
Another Tool for Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Arlington
Opioid use in Arlington continues to be a significant issue, affecting residents of all demographics. From 2014 to present, there has been a steady, costly and deadly increase in opioid-involved incidents investigated by police, and in particular, both fatal and non-fatal overdoses. Between 2015 and 2017 the number of opioid overdoses in the County grew by 640%. While the number of opioid-involved incidents is beginning to level out in 2018, the magnitude of the issue remains substantial, as does the need for programs and resources within the community.
Operation Safe Station Eligibility
Individuals who wish to participate in the Operation Safe Station program must meet the below listed eligibility criteria:
- The participant must not have outstanding arrest warrants.
- The participant is willing to submit to a search of his or her person and belongings.
- The participant has no convictions for manufacturing, giving, selling, distributing or possessing with intent to manufacture, give, sell or distribute a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance.
- A participant under age 18 must have a parent or guardian present and consenting.
- There is no reasonable belief, as determined by the assisting police officers, that the participant, based on the participant’s present condition, could seriously harm a peer specialist or other service provider.
- The participant has not previously utilized this program.
- The participant must complete and sign the Participation Agreement.
Any person not meeting the above eligibility requirements is at risk for arrest and prosecution if determined to be in violation of the law.
Any person who meets the eligibility criteria may self-report to the Office of the Magistrate for Arlington County to surrender controlled substances and paraphernalia and initiate participation. Officers will properly dispose of controlled substances and/or drug paraphernalia. Participants will not be charged with a crime and will not be jailed.
Office of the Magistrate
2020 15th Street N.
Arlington, Va. 22201
All treatment will be coordinated through the Department of Human Services and the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative team of peers, who are on-call to respond and help individuals when they report to the Office of the Magistrate. Participants in the Operation Safe Station Program will be referred to support groups, outpatient office based opioid treatment programs, Methadone programs, and when appropriate, residential treatment.
The Operation Safe Station program acknowledges that addressing the opioid crisis extends far beyond prosecution for drug-related offenses. In recognizing this, the expansion of treatment and recovery resources and development of community education programs continues to be a priority in Arlington County. This program will increase the accessibility of treatment programs to individuals in our community who wish to seek help, a critical step in reducing the impacts on users of controlled substances, as well as those who interact with them in the community.
Program Resources and Documents
- Operation Safe Station Brochure
- Operation Safe Station Participation Agreement
- Operation Safe Station Program Description
- Operation Safe Station Graphic | En Español